Jackson’s Chameleon Enclosure Size and Setup Guide

enclosure size for a Jackson's chameleon

Getting the right size enclosure for your Jackson’s chameleon is vital for its health and happiness. Knowing what kind of enclosure to get with the right dimensions can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, I’ll cover the proper size enclosure for a Jackson’s chameleon and how to set it up!

An adult Jackson’s chameleon enclosure should be at least 2 feet wide, 2 feet long, and 4 feet tall. Baby Jackson’s chameleons can be kept in smaller enclosures but will soon outgrow them. 

This article will discuss what size enclosure you should be considering for your Jackson’s Chameleon and how to know if they have enough room to roam.

From your newborn to your adult-sized Jackon’s chameleon, we will help you decide how to choose the perfect home for your new chameleon to thrive. 

Jackson’s Chameleon Enclosure Sizing  

There are a few different points of view on the enclosure size you need for your Jackson’s Chameleon. Does it need to “grow with your chameleon,” should it be higher than it is wide, and should you allow your chameleon to “roam” free?

Truthfully, there is no correct answer. Any of these enclosures could be sufficient for your chameleon to survive happily for years as long as it has the proper heating and ventilation conditions (and they are being cared for properly.)

That said, it is important that the enclosure has plenty of vertical space.  Let’s break down each possibility and give you all the information you need to make your own decisions on what is best for your home and your chameleon.

Different-Sized Enclosures for Different Ages

Some people feel they need a smaller enclosure (16”x 16”x 24”) for the first year of their chameleon’s life; this is the newborn-juvenile phase.

Once the chameleon is around 12 months old, they are then transferred to a larger enclosure, preferably 24”x24”x48” or larger if possible, but certainly no smaller than 18”x18”x48”. Other owners prefer to purchase one larger enclosure (24”x24”x48” or more) and keep it throughout the chameleon’s entire life.

There are ups and downs to both decisions; however, they are equally valid, and either would be fine for your chameleon.

  Pros Cons
Purchase one lifelong cage You only have to purchase one home. Your chameleon won’t have to get used to a new enclosure. You can find a spot to set it up and leave it there. A baby will be hard to find in a large enclosure. Larger enclosures need more ventilation and cleaning. It might be more difficult for feeding. 
Start small, then go bigger Easier to locate your baby chameleon.Easier to clean the enclosure.Easier to provide your smaller chameleon with enough heat. This option is more expensive (buying two enclosures). You have to change the location of where your chameleon is comfortable. Your chameleon has to get used to their new home.

A Jackson’s Chameleon Enclosure Needs Plenty Of Vertical Space 

It is a popular belief that chameleons like vertical enclosures because they like to climb high on limbs and branches to stay safe, but this is not necessarily the case.

Although chameleons climb out onto small limbs and hide in leaves to stay protected, the enclosure itself does not need to be taller than it is wide.

What does matter is that they do have plenty of vertical space. Which would equate to at least 48 inches tall. It doesn’t matter whether your enclosure is up high or stands tall; as long as there is a way for your chameleon to get onto a tree branch and hide, it will feel comfortable and secure. 

Outdoor Enclosure For a Jackson’s Chameleon

If you live in certain parts of the world you may be able to house your Jackson’s chameleon outside either part-time or full-time. Just make sure that you live in the right environment for this.

If you live in Hawaii or parts of Florida for example, then you might be able to house your chameleon outside.  That said, I would make sure that you are able to transport this enclosure inside in case you needed to.

You will also want to make sure that critters such as raccoons are unable to get inside.  Even if you live in a great environment it is still good to have an indoor enclosure or one that can be easily transported inside. You will also want to make sure you have the correct equipment for an indoor and outdoor enclosure. 

Placing An Outdoor Jackson’s Chameleon Enclosure

Build the enclosure on a patio or around a bush where your chameleon can get some morning sun but have access to shade in the afternoon. You will also need a good misting system for an outdoor enclosure.

Make sure that you have a drip system that has a constant drip when temperatures reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, very high temperatures can be just as much of a problem as low temperatures.

A Jackson’s Chameleon’s ideal temperatures should be about 75-78 degrees during the day and nighttime temperatures in the ’60s. It is also best that they have a basking spot of around 85 degrees.

Most people will need to house their Jackson’s chameleon inside for at least the majority of the time. But if you can get your chameleon out in some natural sunlight when you can it can be beneficial for them. 

Chameleon Enclosure Size and Setup

The most important part about finding the perfect size enclosure is making sure everything your Jackson’s Chameleon needs will fit in it just right. Never overcrowd your cage or leave it too bare, and if the necessities don’t fit, your enclosure is too small.

The following is a list of things your Jackson’s Chameleon will need inside its enclosure to remain healthy and safe in its new environment: 

  1. Lighting: Your lizard is going to need a basking bulb to lay under and warm up with and a UVB bulb for artificial sunlight, providing Vitamin D to help them maintain a healthy immune system.
  2. Basking location: This should be a branch a few layers up and in the same area as the basking bulb, but not so close they can get burned. This spot should be somewhere the Chameleon can feel safe and comfortable basking in the lighting.
  3. Branches and vines: Branches and vines are important for your lizard to move around the enclosure. It’s a good way to get them exercise.
  4. Plants: Plants are the main form of security chameleons have. They hide behind large plants and leaves to protect themselves. Using natural plants is ideal for hydration purposes, but fake ones will do if needed. Just make sure the plants are safe for chameleons first. 
  5. Multiple layers: It is important your chameleon has multiple layers or levels of plants, trees, or vines to crawl up and on throughout the cage. Their ideal habitat is up high on a thin branch full of large leaves for optimal protection and the perfect sleeping spot.
  6. Misting system: Because heat and humidity play such a large role in the health of your chameleon, a good misting system is a beneficial option to add to your enclosure. 
  7. Cleaning tray: Having an easily removable bottom in your enclosure is ideal for easy clean-up. Because the lizard prefers to stay perched up high, most of the mess will fall down to the enclosure’s bottom, making a sliding tray perfect for removal.

A Perfectly Sized Enclosure for a Jackson’s Chameleon

Now that you know how much space is required to care for your chameleon, we can talk about the best types of enclosures to buy.  Having a cage that allows airflow is ideal for a Jackson’s Chameleon.

Tons of fresh air, humidity, and space are important to the health of your lizard. We recommend a cage with a screen or mesh walls and easy access for cleaning and feeding.

If you choose a glass or plastic enclosure, it is extremely important to properly ventilate the cage; stagnant air can become fatal for chameleons, as it creates breeding grounds for bacteria causing possible infections.

(If you choose a glass or plastic enclosure, purchase a small fan to help with the circulation of air.) But honestly, I would just get the more ideal enclosure from the start. 

One of my favorites is the Zoo Med Reptibreeze Chameleon Enclosure. This enclosure is the perfect size for your chameleon, whether it’s a newborn or a few years old. It has plenty of space and great ventilation.


The proper enclosure size for your Jackson’s Chameleon should no smaller than 2’x2’x4’. Giving your lizard the proper amount of space is beneficial for the health and lifespan of your Jackson’s chameleon

It is also important you consider the environment where they will be kept and the climate you live in. Keep your chameleon warm with plenty of fresh air and proper humidity. 

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